I was walking through the narrow lanes of my downtown suburb to reach the local railway station. I was quite thrilled as I was going with to a nearby hill-station with my father. As I was walking there came my friend Javed’s general store. His shop is generally a stopover point for those who take the back-route to the railway station. I passed by his shop. His father or what Javed normally calls ‘abba’, was sitting idly, maybe he was counting flies I guess. I wanted to pass by so that he doesn’t see me & I can go straightaway without doing all the formalities to him. He noticed me. I had to stop.
“As Salaam Valekum, uncle.” I had to greet him anyhow for keeping myself in their ‘good books.’
“walekum salaam beta”
“So uncle? What’s going on?”
“Beta, I heard about your result.”
Bang on! That’s why I was avoiding everyone. I knew he’d ask about the result. It’s not that I’m ashamed of my result but everyone’s mouth has been wide open as I have failed my final year degree examinations while Javed has scored distinction. But now why is everybody making a mountain of molehill?
“Uncle, that happens. Don’t worry I’ll clear next semester.”
“Yes, you’ll clear it but if you would have cleared it I’d be happy. You are Javed’s friend, to me you are like Javed only, how could you not clear your papers, you are so intelligent.”
“Uncle, that happens.” I repeated again to remind him my first line.
“Javed told me you are very intelligent. You don’t study that’s why you failed. In previous semesters you may take as many backlogs you like, but in final semester you should have cleared it.”
Uncle is pressing my paining vein. I know I should have cleared it. But now it’s not cleared, now what to do? I have already had lots of ‘you-are-so-intelligent-then-how-failed’ moments courtesy my mother. No, I am not any criminal. Well, but in this zone, failing degree examinations is not less than a crime. Okay, okay let’s continue the conversation.
“Beta, you are so intelligent. Now clear all your papers. Look at my Javed, you know na he is from vernacular medium. Still see how proud he has made me.” I felt so guilty like I have committed a sin. Are my parents ashamed of me? No they are not. But whatever uncle said was cent percent true. All was my fault. I knew I was capable enough to top the university & when the world has lot of expectations from you & you not only disappoint them, you thrash their hopes then you are deserving all these hearings. They all care for you & so they say all these things. But I know behind every failure there’s a success. Right now, you may not know but then you’ll realize life was so awesome. I continued the talk.
“Uncle, Eid Mubarak.” Those were Eid days so I just took the Eid greetings to divert the topic from my result. And guess what? It worked. Uncle too greeted me. And we exchanged a few more greetings for our families and uncle said,
“Beta, come home. Have shir-kurma, aunty will be pleased to see you. Javed is also at home only.”
“Thank you, uncle.”
My daddy came by then and we moved towards the railway station. But this conversation with Shamshad uncle, simply Javed’s abba, had touched me somewhere. It had nothing dramatic or thrilling but even in casual meetings, people always ask you your milestones like your results, your health, your marriage, kids, parents etc. So I promised myself that whenever I meet my acquaintances, they should be proud that they are ‘my’ acquaintance. I hope I may become what I aspire for. Till then, all those you-are-so-intelligent-then-how-failed gossips that come my way, I have to face them & get better of them. I trust Almighty for this & of course, myself.